“The problem is, you think you have time.” - (attributed to) the Buddha
Rev. Darren M. Baldwin
None of the ideas I’m about to attempt to relate are original; they’re lessons learned by every human who gets the chance to live, and have been repeated aloud in an attempt to teach them to others for centuries. This is a sermon that’s probably been spoken through different voices in nearly every church or temple in the world. However, I don’t believe certain things can be taught, but must be learned through experience.
Teenagers are generally stereotyped as reckless; we think we’re invincible. I’ve never been one to take big risks or do anything too stupid, and until this week believed I understood that anyone of us can die on any given day; but it’s funny how something can happen that reminds one of how true something is. On Friday, a friend (perhaps closer to an acquaintance; I knew her through other friends, and enjoyed her company enough the times that I was around her to consider her a friend) of mine died in her sleep, from a brain aneurysm. Another friend of mine had just been talking to her on Facebook the night before. She had just turned 19, and she worked at the Goodwill in her hometown while also going to the local community college. Another friend of mine dated her for a long time, being her first actual significant other. She had a life, she lived, and one day, completely unexpectedly, it was over.
It’s one thing to “know” that any day can be one’s last, that it’s possible to go to sleep as she did and never wake up, to just have that idea or notion, and a whole other thing to see it happen first hand. Such things may be rare, but they do happen. As morbid as it may seem, people expect a certain number of teens to be injured or killed through certain means (car accidents and, sadly, suicide being the main ones) each year, but no one expects one so young to go quietly in their sleep. It can be a cold reminder of just how brief life can be.
I don’t want this to be a depressing message. I have known other people my age who have died, but this is my first time seeing, personally knowing, someone of my age who has gone like this; this is me learning that lesson (one in particular, of many) that can’t be taught. Instead of seeing this as darkness, I would prefer to remember her. As stated before, the situation of this sermon is original, but its message is not, so I’ve left it untitled; her life was very original, and instead of letting her life go untitled like I have this sermon, I would prefer to see it, remember it, and name it “Brooklyn.” I would like to live knowing that I too could go like this, and that I shouldn’t waste time with things that I wouldn’t want to do on my last day.
I was not a close friend to Brooklyn; others who were closer to her will remember her much better than I, and miss her more sorely. Had our situations been reversed, she may not have written anything about me, but she taught me something about life that I’ll keep with me for the rest of mine, and for that, and I’ll always remember her.
As a closing point, I’d like to share this poem by Michael Lee, “Pass On.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZ7-rgfu-2s